September 2016, the Singapore Government launched CorpPass, a corporate digital identity
to facilitate businesses and other entities, such as non-profit organisation
and associations, to transact with Government agencies online.
by the Government Technology Agency
(GovTech) and developed in consultation with industry partners and pilot users,
CorpPass marks the first time that the Government is rolling out a corporate digital identity. Today, CorpPass
is a one-stop portal to log in to more
than 130 digital services managed by over 50 Government agencies.
OpenGov had the privilege to speak to the GovTech team about the CorpPass
Fong Kok Khuan, Deputy Director, GDS Product Management and two of his managers
Mr Poon Shou Xin and Ms Elita Lawalata shared with OpenGov their journey for
developing and improving the CorpPass system, as well as their efforts in
engaging government agencies and the business community.
Birth of the idea
concept of CorpPass arose from the fact that the use of individuals’ SingPass for
corporate transactions resulted in concerns over data privacy,” said Mr Fong.
CorpPass, businesses transacted with the government using multiple digital
identities, such as SingPass and EASY (e-Services
Authorisation System). This meant that people were using their personal
SingPass accounts to transact on behalf of a company.
Singapore Government received feedback from the business community that the use
of SingPass for corporate transactions raises privacy concerns, and that
businesses have to constantly handle multiple login IDs.
Fong highlighted the privacy concerns in using SingPass for corporate
transactions, “Sometimes for the sake of convenience, the individuals will have
to pass his or her personal credentials to colleagues, for corporate
transactions with the Government to be completed in his or her absence.”
a person uses SingPass to transact for a business, government agencies do not
necessarily know which company the person is representing. While some
government agencies require users to declare which businesses they are
representing, agencies do not know for certain whether the person is authorised
to carry out such transactions.
the case of SingPass, an organisation may be requested to authorise a person to
carry out transactions with government agencies on behalf of the organisation. Then
supporting documents may have to submitted to prove that the person is from that
authorised person leaves the organisation, the authorisation with various
government agencies would have to updated. If the organisation loses track of its
list of authorised personnel and forgets to update the authorisation, this would
pose a potential security loophole due to the organisation’s oversight.
a fundamental question arises: is it correct to carry out a business
transaction with one’s personal credentials? If the answer is no, then there is
a recognition for a clear separation between what is personal and what is for
work, similar to how our work and personal email accounts are for very
to the team, this idea that business transactions should be separated from
personal accounts forms the first principle of CorpPass.
principle behind CorpPass is for the public to see the Singapore Government as ‘One
as a whole-of-government initiative
to Mr Fong, there was early recognition that the CorpPass system is far more
than just an IT project – it is a massive change management effort encompassing
the entirety of the Singapore Government, as well as local businesses and other
project team works very closely across government agencies, to smoothen the
transition process for both government agencies and businesses, helping them
ease into the new system.
developing the concept of CorpPass, the team at GovTech started engaging government
agencies, which would be using CorpPass as a corporate digital identity.
Shou Xin, Manager, GDS Product Management is responsible for liaising with
government agencies, to support them in adopting CorpPass as an authentication
mechanism. He shared the process of engaging stakeholders within the Government
and the considerations GovTech had to deal with.
all government agencies have been supportive of the CorpPass initiative, the process
of prioritising functions, harmonising requirements and developing a common
portal is a challenging task.
is a whole-of-government initiative involving all agencies. It is a massive
effort to bring all agencies together and detail down each agency’s
requirements,” said Mr Poon.
“With SingPass, each agency has their own
specific systems that cater to specific requirements. One of the first steps
GovTech took was to list down all these requirements of the different agencies,
identify the key ones, and offer them as part of CorpPass,” Mr Poon shared.
intent of the CorpPass portal is to provide a one-stop shop for all businesses
to administer their access to different government agencies and services. As
such, it has to be a portal with functions to create users and grant them
access to different government agencies.
Poon said that the prioritisation conducted through many workshops helped to
identify the “must-haves” and the “good-to-haves”.
the process, there were many challenges and spirited debates, but it was a
great learning process to help us understand where agencies are coming from and
build better relationships,” Mr Poon recalled.
Engaging public users from the business
the same time, the CorpPass team also engages the users of CorpPass portal –
the business community.
businesses in their transition to the CorpPass project is a key concern for Ms
Elita Lawalata, Manager, GDS Product Management. Requirements received from
agencies are validated through focus group discussions with business
engage external stakeholders such as businesses, the CorpPass project team works
with agencies to communicate to their customer base. Materials such as the user
guides and frequently asked questions (FAQ) were also developed to address
common queries raised by businesses, made
available on the CorpPass website,” Ms Lawalata shared.
briefings are conducted every month which agencies help to publicise. The CorpPass
Business Centre is also open for appointments for companies that need extra
to Ms Lawalata, the CorpPass team at GovTech uses a data-driven approach to
segment businesses into different sizes and types, so as to facilitate their on-boarding
process and transition to CorpPass.
Design of CorpPass
next step is the transition of technical interface. After prioritising the
functionality of the CorpPass portal, agencies then have to offer CorpPass
login for government-to-business (G2B) transactions, in a move to cease
SingPass and other login methods for corporate transactions.
SingPass identifies users by their username or NRIC number, CorpPass users need
to provide the company’s Unique Entity Number (UEN) to indicate the company they
are representing, for a transaction.
than authentication, CorpPass is also an authorisation platform which enables
businesses to manage their access to government services. The agency admin
module is designed to be flexible to allow agencies to define types of roles.
can appoint up to two CorpPass Administrators (Admin) to create and manage user
accounts for the staff. Given this important responsibility, a CorpPass Admin
should be of a certain level of seniority within the company.
order to cater for companies of different sizes and structures, CorpPass allows
for some flexibility in the eligibility of being a CorpPass Admin – if a
company director wishes to be appointed as a CorpPass Admin, no further
approval is required; for other employees to take the CorpPass Admin position,
he/she will need the company
on user feedback that only 2 Admins might not be enough for larger businesses
with more complex structure, CorpPass allows companies to create sub-Admin
roles. The only difference between the two roles is that CorpPass sub-Admins
cannot create other Admin user accounts for the company.
CorpPass as an ongoing learning journey:
whole-of-government initiative, can CorpPass cater to specific requirements of
a handful of agencies? Some of these agencies might have a large user base,
others might have fewer users but could be making significant financial
contributions. Then there are others, where neither the size of the user base
nor dollar considerations provide an appropriate parameter to quantify
on the user side, there are complex businesses that have a hierarchy of parent
companies and subsidiaries. There are organisations with one UEN but having
autonomously operating divisions, with their own HR and finance. Then there are
corporate service providers and tax agents who transact on behalf of their
CorpPass is meant to be a system that serves everyone, it must have
configurations that cater to complexity.
must not neglect users who might be small in number, but complex in nature,” Mr
Such minority users also include foreigners who are not
project governance structure played an important role in dealing with these
governance structure of CorpPass was set up early in the process, helmed by
senior decision-makers in the Government to make decisions that are less
clear-cut,” Mr Fong shared.
Lawalata emphasised the importance of public engagement and feedback gathering,
for example through the ongoing monthly public briefing, the CorpPass Business
Centre, and trade or industry associations.
Lawalata shared examples of how public feedback helped to improve CorpPass,
allowing the system to better accommodate organisations of different sizes and
there was no limit on the number of Sub-Admin accounts in CorpPass. However,
due to concern of misuse and potential security risks, the maximum number of
CorpPass Sub-Admin was capped at 10,” she said.
some large organisations such as hospitals and universities gave feedback that
the quota of 10 is inadequate for the organisation to perform necessary
transactions. As such, the cap has been revised again to 25.”
organisations that request for more than 25 Sub-Admin roles in CorpPass, their
request must be justified based on their actual registration number and needs.
feedback is that companies want to segregate responsibilities between
sub-Admins. For example, Finance sub-Admins should only be allowed to transact
finance-related matters on behalf of the company. This has led CorpPass to
introduce the assignment profile for companies to restrict and assign
functionalities based on their needs and operations.
introduced CorpPass progressively, through 4 major waves. The sequence for agencies and services to
come on-board was designed to be in line with their business cycles.
whole process of 4 major waves took close to 2 years to complete. Every 3 to 4 months, a number of agencies offered
their services via CorpPass. All this while, in order not to disrupt business
transactions, the option to use SingPass remains open, giving businesses time
to register and get used to the new CorpPass system.
the 4 waves of roll-out of CorpPass, the team has been constantly taking
feedback from the business users, as well as the agencies to improve the system
in subsequent stages.
agencies that came onboard early also shared issues that they encountered in
the transition to CorpPass. The team then took those as learning points to
smoothen the transition for government agencies that followed in subsequent
the CorpPass system has been launched and improved through several iterations,
the current version is already very usable and user-friendly,” Mr Fong said.
Poon shared that one of the focus areas for CorpPass this year is to ensure
that the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) onboards the CorpPass
system smoothly and according to the schedule, given its importance and unique
requirements. It is expected to join by Q3 2018.
said that the development of CorpPass cannot be viewed in isolation under the
country’s whole-of-government Smart Nation plan led by the Smart Nation and
Digital Government Office (SNDGO) under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of
Fong shared that in the Government’s Smart Nation initiatives, priority is
given to projects that are citizen-centric i.e. have the most and widest impact
on citizens who are end-users, for example, the SingPass.
wide adoption of SingPass has laid good foundation for subsequent Smart Nation
initiatives such as the National Digital ID Project and the CorpPass.
Singapore advances its Smart Nation plans, we are likely to see more
integration between these projects over the next few years that improves the
provision of public services, to both citizens and businesses,” Mr Fong
In the on-going journey, the CorpPass team will
continue to be open to feedback and adhere to the data-driven approach, which
has served it well in working with business users, government agencies and
is an online digital service authorisation system currently used by some
agencies including the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), JTC
Corporation and the Immigration Checkpoints Authority of Singapore.
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the creation of a US$ 20 million Artificial Intelligence (AI) research institute led by faculty from three top universities in the U.S. The new institute, the AI Institute for Dynamic Systems, will focus on developing new machine learning ideas and techniques, with the team exploring new ways to use AI to integrate physics-based modelling to accelerate scientific discovery.
For decades, scientists and engineers have toiled to accelerate AI development. Now AI will return the favour by helping accelerate scientific discovery itself. The AI Institute is one of 11 new NSF-funded centres that are part of a larger $220 million investment in AI and AI-enabled research.
The Institute’s goal is to integrate AI and machine learning with physics-based models to tackle some of the biggest challenges in science and engineering, such as materials discovery. The researchers want to use AI to help scientists and engineers speed up their work. Businesses use AI primarily for prediction; scientists use AI for gaining insight.
There is tremendous potential for AI within the scientific process: helping scientists to choose what and how to measure, discovering new relationships in measured data, and understanding and explaining these discoveries.
Scientific discovery is one part of the Institute’s mission; it will also focus on developing more powerful AI tools to do this work, including the use of AI to build better AI. Engineers like to invent systems to solve problems. They are now faced with the ultimate challenge to create a system that can itself invent solutions automatically.
The Institute will also focus on training future researchers in AI techniques. Examples include partnering with high school programs that focus on AI-related projects and recruiting and preparing recent college graduates from underrepresented groups, U.S. veterans and first-generation college students to go on for a graduate degree. The institute will provide massive open-source educational materials that include lectures, data and code packages for advancing and empowering AI.
The researchers are so excited to bring together a critical mass of amazing and innovative researchers from across the U.S. to really move the needle in developing machine learning technology for physical and engineering dynamic systems. They also have a deep connection with industry partners, which provides them with an incredible opportunity to make sure that we are focused on important and relevant problems and that their technology will actually be used.
The new NSF National AI Research Institutes are hubs for academia, industry and government to accelerate discovery and innovation in AI. Inspiring talent and ideas everywhere in this important area will lead to new capabilities that improve our lives from medicine to entertainment to transportation and cybersecurity and position us in the vanguard of competitiveness and prosperity.
AI is being integrated into every industry and every discipline, including journalism, nursing, or nutrition. From retail to real estate, AI is going to be a part of every industry’s future, and everyone needs to be prepared. As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. researchers have built a high-fidelity simulation environment that is designed for developing algorithms that improve causal discovery and counterfactual reasoning of AI.
The researchers illustrated a problem by making an analogy of AI in a different context. If a self-driving car were confined to the streets of a neighbourhood in Arizona with few pedestrians, wide, flat roads and street signs with English writing, and then they deployed the car on the narrow, busy streets of Delhi, where street signs are written in Hindi, pattern recognition would be insufficient to operate safely.
The recent paper took a closer look at this problem and the researchers proposed a new high-fidelity simulation environment. They designed a high-fidelity simulation with the ability to control causal structure. A more robust AI model does more than simply learning patterns. It captures the causal relationships between events.
Home broadband penetration in the Philippines has always been low, owing to the mobile platform’s dominance, which accounts for 97% of the total internet users in the country according to a report. The pandemic, on the other hand, prompted Filipinos to switch from mobile to home broadband for their internet needs, as demand for faster connectivity increased to support work, learning, and entertainment in the home increases.
Three months after an order issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allowing telecom companies to construct infrastructure projects within the allowable right-of-way limits of national roads, the Philippines’ internet provider saw an improvement in its efforts to fibrise more homes and businesses.
The order has bolstered the company’s bid to extend fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) lines to more households in strategic areas across the country. Since the third week of March this year, the internet provider has been able to install FTTH lines, which are supplemented by 96 DWPH permits. The right-of-way order also enabled fiberisation to support Mobile Builds from 39 DPWH permits.
“The support of DPWH, and the government in general, will really allow us to decongest demand for internet connectivity in the highly-urbanised areas in the country. This will help us fast-track laying out our fibre cables to more households that are now more dependent on having reliable, fast, and accessible internet,” said the company’s Vice President for Programme Delivery, Network Technical Group.
The new Department Order No. 29, also known as the “DPWH Policy on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure Pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11494,” relaxes previous right-of-way prohibitions, particularly on the construction of posts, by allowing excavations and restoration work for ICT infrastructure projects along with allowable right-of-way limits of national roads and highways. With the removal of such a major bottleneck, the company anticipates that site inspection and approval will be completed in a matter of days, rather than several weeks or even months in the past.
“This will make it faster for the company to bring high-speed broadband services to more homes and businesses through Fibre-to-the-Homes (FTTH) this year. We are confident we will hit our target of making one million fibre lines available this year,” he then added.
The order issued by the DPWH is in accordance with Bayanihan Acts 1 and 2, which streamline the requirements for obtaining permits from local government units and national government agencies for the installation of new cell towers.
OpenGov Asia reported that the business conglomerate’s CEO for ICT asserted that the tower activated by the telecommunication company was a Rapid Deployment Station (RDS) Telecom Tower in Valenzuela City offering a faster set-up structure that incorporates the tower body, fencing and foundation all in one. These structures can be deployed and dismantled in a matter of days, eliminating the need for extensive excavation and foundation construction.
The company has spent the majority of its P70 billion capital expenditure budget on data network construction to provide Filipinos with world-class internet connectivity. Furthermore, the internet service provider strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG No. 9, which emphasises the importance of infrastructure and innovation as key drivers of economic growth and development.
As mobility restrictions are imposed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), an increasing number of the OECD’s estimated 1.3 billion citizens are working and studying from home, and critical international policy coordination is now taking place online. Fixed and mobile broadband operators, content and cloud providers, and points where Internet networks connect to each other to exchange traffic, known as Internet exchange points (IXPs), are experiencing up to 60% more Internet traffic than before the outbreak. In this unprecedented situation, the resilience and capability of broadband networks have become even more critical.
China aims to improve the evaluation system for scientific and technological achievements and accelerate their transformation into real productive forces. The quality of scientific and technological innovation, their achievements in applied technology, and their contributions to economic and social development should be the core of the evaluation.
The scientific, technological, economic, social and cultural value of scientific and technological achievements should be evaluated comprehensively and accurately, especially their multiple applications. A classified evaluation system should be improved.
For basic research results, peer review should be the major evaluation method, while applied research results should mainly be evaluated by industry users and social forces, with high-quality intellectual property output, new technology, new materials, new processes, new products and performance of new equipment’s prototype as main evaluation indicators.
A national scientific and technological achievements library should be established so that scientific and technological achievements promotion lists can be formulated according to different application needs. Scientific and technological achievements that are not confidential or supported by financial funds will be made public in accordance with regulations.
Efforts should be made to improve the system for disclosing job-related scientific and technological achievements in colleges and universities, and scientific research institutions. A patent evaluation system should be established before an application is filed.
Market-oriented evaluation of scientific and technological achievements should be developed. Measures should be taken to improve the linkage mechanism between the evaluation of scientific and technological achievements and financial institutions and investment companies. Relevant financial institutions and investment companies should be guided to conduct a commercial evaluation for any potential economic value, market assessment and prospects for the development of scientific and technological achievements.
Industry associations, research societies, professional evaluation institutions and others should be guided to play their role in the evaluation of scientific and technological achievements. Related departments, local governments and industries should join to establish an information service platform for the evaluation of scientific and technological achievements.
Reward systems for scientific and technological achievements should be improved, with appropriate quantities and higher quality of rewards. National science and technology awards should be closely integrated with the country’s major strategies, and rewards for basic research and applied basic research results will be increased. Harmful trends in scientific and technological achievements evaluation, such as valuing quantity over quality and contributions, must be fully corrected.
Big data, Artificial Intelligence and other technical means should be adopted to develop information tools for evaluation and to enhance research on evaluation theory and methods of scientific and technological achievements. Also, a cross-industry, cross-department, cross-regional database collecting scientific and technological results, demand, cases, and evaluation tools and methods should be established.
Incentive and exemption mechanisms for evaluating scientific and technological achievements will also be improved, according to the guideline. The reform of scientific and technological achievements evaluation will be led by the Ministry of Science and Technology and piloted in units and regions of different types.
The guideline also stressed administration streamlining in the reform, and urged related departments to pay attention to social supervision and strengthen academic self-discipline and industry self-discipline during evaluation.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China facilitates major technological transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing sector, attaching importance to fostering the intelligent, green, service-oriented development of traditional sectors such as the coal, construction and steel industries.
The guideline underscores accelerating the construction of national logistics hubs in Zhengzhou, Changsha, Taiyuan, Yichang and Ganzhou, and increasing the listed products of the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange.
Regarding promoting advanced manufacturing, the guideline urges the building of industrial bases focused on sectors including intelligent manufacturing, new materials, new-energy vehicles and electronic information.
As New Zealand and Australia’s economies recover from the COVID-19 health and financial crises, businesses in the region are rethinking their approach to attracting, retaining, and developing talent as a key asset for business recovery.
The adoption of innovative HR software solutions that respond to the changing needs of the workforce in the aftermath of the recession is at the heart of this strategic shift. The lessons learnt over the last year have prompted HR and business leaders to reconsider not only their crisis response strategies but also their recovery plans for 2021. An important aspect of this is their investment in HR technology (89%), which is a key decision that has an impact at various stages of the recovery cycle.
Organisations that invest in HR technology stay ahead of a potential brain drain in the region by keeping an eye on talent trends and preparing for these shifts within their own teams even before they occur. The most recent HR software solutions capture the entire employee life cycle, providing HR and business leaders with visibility into their talent pool as they enter the next phase of growth.
Driving business impact with AI
Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, emerged as one of the top technology investments driving the most impact in HR in the wake of COVID-19. Employers in the past year have turned to tools, such as predictive analytics, that are built into a number of human capital management software systems today. These tools can purportedly make predictions about talent activity – or “at least suggest where there might be potential issues”, says the chief operating officer at the Software company.
With an integrated AI analytics platform, modern software solutions enable organisations to intervene before concerns become actual risks. “This has definitely brought the need for AI forward,” he says. “To have the data accessible to be able to make those decisions in an educated way is certainly an important part for people management to move that to the next level.”
Organisations that invest in HR technology stay ahead of a potential brain drain in the region by monitoring talent trends and preparing their own teams for these shifts even before they occur. The most recent HR software solutions capture the entire employee life cycle, giving HR and business leaders visibility into their talent pool as they enter the next stage of expansion.
Keeping teams connected to the mission
For the chief operating officer at the Software company, the challenge for HR software vendors is to make sure they can “cover all bases and really bring people together, irrespective of where and how they’re working”.
“We’ve seen a really big shift in terms of HR software being potentially seen as just the automation of the process, but, in this new digital and remote world, it’s also playing a big role in terms of the employee experience [EX] and employer brand,” he says.
HR software solutions facilitate cross-functional communication within their environment, particularly when managers are tracking, reviewing, and approving documents or facilitating performance reviews, promotions, and succession planning. This technologically driven approach to strategic HR functions contributes to a better overall employee experience.
Innovative HR solutions enable organisations to keep employees up to date via automated emails and real-time push notifications on their desktops or mobile devices. They can conduct daily, weekly, and monthly pulse surveys, communicate the company’s employee value proposition across channels and drive engagement with employees even when they are unable to interact with them face-to-face.
Without a doubt, technology has brought about the necessary positive change in most HR Departments. However, it should be noted that technological advancements are still far from human decision-making abilities.
To enable the development of wearable devices that possess advanced ultraviolet (UV) detection functions, Singaporean scientists have created a new type of light sensor that is both flexible and highly sensitive.
While invisible to the human eye, UV rays in the environment, and excessive exposure can cause health issues including skin cancer and premature skin ageing. The intensity of UV rays is typically reported through an index during weather reports. A wearable device, such as a T-shirt or watch that monitors the actual personal UV exposure throughout the day, would be a useful and more accurate guide for people seeking to avoid sun damage.
In their study, which was featured on the front cover of the peer-reviewed journal, the researchers reported that their flexible UV light sensors were 25 times more responsive, and 330 times more sensitive, than existing sensors, exceeding the performance level required for optoelectronic applications – or light-based electronics.
UV light sensors, also known as photodetectors, are used in a wide range of systems, from smartphones to biomedical imaging. Over the past decades, gallium nitride (GaN) has gained prominence as the ideal material to fabricate UV light sensors, largely due to its superior properties in emitting, regulating, transmitting, and sensing light. However, most GaN-based UV sensors today are built on rigid layers, limiting their use in flexible and wearable products.
While researchers elsewhere have developed flexible GaN-based UV sensors, they have not attained the level of performance required for state-of-the-art use. Two of their biggest challenges are low responsivity and low sensitivity.
The NTU team overcame these constraints by creating their flexible UV light sensors on a semiconductor wafer 8 inches in diameter, using free-standing single-crystalline layers of GaN and aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN), arranged using membranes that consist of two different thin semiconductor layers (heterostructure membranes).
This type of semiconductor structure, which can be fabricated using existing industrial compatible methods, allows the material to be easily bent, making it ideal for use in flexible sensors. At the same time, the chemical composition of the material changes with depth, meaning that high performance is maintained even when it comes under strain.
Lead researcher said that the high performance of the team’s flexible UV light sensors proves that it would be feasible to manufacture large-scale lightweight and flexible electronics for use in future relevant light-based applications. The team’s achievement could lead to significant advances in UV optoelectronic devices and circuits, as product engineers could now look forward to developing UV-enabled wearable systems.
While the performance of the rigid form of GaN-based UV light sensors has been greatly improved with various structural innovations over the past years, a flexible version remains in its infancy and their performance is far behind that of the rigid counterparts. Their high-performance flexible UV light sensors pave the way forward for a wide range of future wearable applications, such as in personal smart health monitoring, where people can accurately measure their UV exposure levels throughout the day to reduce their risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer can be prevented by protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure. In this context, a reliable wearable device that could track UV exposure may be a handy tool to help monitor one’s recommended exposure, particularly for those who spend a lot of time outdoors.
This demonstration on a flexible platform opens vast opportunities not only in UV photodetectors but also in other optoelectronic and electronic device applications. The project to develop the flexible UV light sensors took the team two years of design, fabrication, and testing. Moving forward, the researchers are looking to devise eye-type UV imagers and other applications using their innovation.
The Ministry of Education is collaborating with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and a private chip manufacturing giant to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) skilling programme, AI for All. It aims to provide a basic understanding of AI for all Indian citizens.
According to a news report, the private player has launched a special, four-hour-long self-paced learning module that explains AI in a way that is suitable for a novice audience. The course is available in 11 Indian languages and is open to the general public. The course has two parts – AI awareness and AI appreciation. At the end of each stage, participants will be given personalised digital badges that can be shared on social media, the company said. The programme will build a digital-first mindset and expand access to the AI skills needed for current and future jobs.
The programme is in line with the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s National Strategy for AI, which focuses on leveraging the technology for inclusive growth and developing large-scale solutions for societal needs. NITI Aayog is the country’s think tank.
Further, the programme is also aligned with the National Education Policy 2020, which emphasises creating ways to prepare students for an AI-driven economy. An official from the Ministry of Education noted that the policy acknowledges the importance of AI. AI For All is one of the largest AI public awareness programmes worldwide and will help “demystify AI in an inclusive manner strengthening India’s position as a global leader for emerging technologies”.
A recent report on AI patents in India showed that from a vertical perspective, consumer electronics, personal computing devices, and healthcare are on the top of the AI patent filings list. With a 93% share, machine learning is the most popular AI technique while computer vision is the leading functional area with a share of 36%. More than 70% of the technology patents filed in India relate to one or more emerging technology domains. At an international level, patent filing grew by 4% in the year 2020. AI accounts for 6% of all emerging tech patents in India. Over 5,000 AI patents were filed over the last decade in India, out of which 94% of them were filed in the last five years.
AI patent filing in India will maintain an upward trajectory as the country is emerging as a key destination for AI innovation. Currently, the country is ranked 8th in the world for AI patent filing and 4th in terms of AI research papers.
It is estimated that AI has the potential to add over 500 billion dollars and 20 million jobs to the Indian economy by 2025. India has a diverse pool of talent working on innovative ideas in the space of AI to solve real-world problems. The AI domain attracted the highest investment in 2020 at US$ 443.8 million. It was followed by the analytics domain with a cumulative investment of US$214.8 million. The automation field received total financing of US$ 91.7 million, followed by the conversational AI and NLP domain with US$ 38.6 million. Robotics and IoT received 0.8% and 0.6% of the total funding, respectively.
The Geospatial Lab (GeoLab) officially opened on 30 July 2021. The establishment of the GeoLab is one of the major initiatives of the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure. The lab has “Geospatial” as its theme and is equipped with advanced technology and training facilities. Through the integration of education, experience and practice, it will help raise public interest in spatial data and explore together with the community the value and application of spatial data in support of smart city development.
The GeoLab is located at Millennium City I in Kwun Tong and has an area of 3,000 square feet. The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals has been selected as the operator through an open tender.
The GeoLab will provide fitted-out working space and coaching services to support experimental projects using spatial data and conduct activities such as competitions, workshops and talks. Complementing the Government’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, the GeoLab will regularly hold talks and practical classes for schools to help students master geospatial technology and knowledge, and to enhance their understanding of how to apply spatial data for innovative applications.
About the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure
The vision of developing Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) is to contribute to a liveable, competitive, innovative, sustainable and Smart Hong Kong through the provision of convenient, easily accessible, high quality, standardised and up-to-date spatial information and services.
According to the government website, “spatial data” refers to any data concerning a specific geographical location. In fact, “spatial data” has long been integrated into our lives. We can use the map applications in our mobile phones, for example, combined with Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate nearby restaurants, parking lots or bus stops by their addresses, streets or building names and more.
Geographical location is the bridge between information. It can associate relevant information of facilities that are above, on and underground levels to support the development of various smart city applications. According to overseas academic research, more than 80% of all data is location-related information.
Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) aims to provide government departments as well as public and private organisations with an information infrastructure to promote the sharing of spatial data and support the development of various smart city applications.
It is envisaged that the establishment of CSDI standards to facilitate linkage and integration of spatial data from various government departments and that of the whole territory, and the provision of a common platform for integration and exchange of geospatial information will be conducive to the provision of reliable spatial data services for the efficient use of resources, development of a smart city and sustainable development.
Throughout the years, various government departments, as well as public and private organisations, have made use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) to facilitate the management of individual geographic related spatial data and/or the development of different map service platforms.
The spatial data thus generated, therefore, comes from different government in-house data systems and are without common standards. The development of the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) aims to provide a platform to link and integrate geospatial data across various government departments to facilitate easy sharing and use of high-quality spatial data by government departments, public and private organisations, academics as well as the general public.
Examples of spatial data applications
- Boosting digital economy: In this era of autonomous applications, the capability of a 3D digital map can be extended to support a wide range of applications (e.g. self-driving cars and drones) and foster the creation of a digital twin by leveraging the Internet of Things, building information modelling (BIM) technology and big data analytics.
- Enhancing data-driven decision-making in the Government: By collecting the Dengue Fever Ovitrap Index from 3 000 locations across the territory and presenting the index figures via an interactive map interface with trend data, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) can readily identify the more affected areas and accordingly deploy manpower to tackle priority sites.
- Spurring innovations and improving quality of life for the wider community: A retail chain store is considering opening a new shop. Socio-economic data such as age, income and housing type of residents, as well as information on traffic patterns, foot traffic and the number of residences in the area, can be helpful when choosing a location.